Ahead of the Curve
The Professional Development Advisory Committee’s (PDAC) purpose in providing you this communication is to further its goal of periodically sharing topical information regarding the legal industry. Our hope is that one or more of the updates will provide a spark of insight to assist with your work on behalf of ALA as well as within your firm or legal department.
A recent poll of attorneys by legal tech startup Winnieware found that attorneys often don't know what ethics standard applies in their state for when they receive confidential information accidentally.
Resource: Gabrielle Orum Hernandez, Legaltech News
"New entrants with fresh approaches like these may be just the prescription our ailing health care system needs," Brian Marcotte, CEO of the National Business Group on Health in Washington, D.C., told SHRM Online. The health care industry "is ripe for disruption and the collective resources of these three companies, emerging technologies and Amazon's customer obsession and supply chain savvy gives me optimism that they will pursue a consumer-focused model that will transcend the fragmented, provider-centric delivery system that we have today."
Resource: Stephen Miller, CEBS, SHRM
"A well-developed compensation plan can provide a roadmap for law firms and lawyers to derive the maximum benefit from their association. To start, firms should devise written compensation policies, guidelines, and incentives to ensure lawyers are paid competitively and commensurate with individual contributions. When firms add progression policies and guidelines to this pay structure, their lawyer groups are usually found to be more productive and satisfied.
Not all law firms are ready for this type of advanced compensation and pay structure. Struggling law firms must first address their profitability issues before moving to a more sophisticated rewards system. This may cause the firm to suffer from a competitive disadvantage and may result in a loss of good lawyers."
Resource: Brian Kennel, PerformLaw
"Your law firm runs on computers and, over time, your firm’s IT systems become outdated and security risks develop. Therefore, it's critical that your firm undertakes a periodic evaluation and examination, to make sure all systems are working properly and risks are not left unchecked for extended periods of time.
In many cases, you’re relying on your COO, your IT Director and/or your outside service provider to manage the situation. However, that reliance does not replace your ownership of this responsibility. As the firm’s CEO, you're the person ultimately responsible to ensure that the IT systems and controls are aligned with the firm's goals and legal requirements and are being managed, maintained, updated and kept current."
Resource: Lee Hovermale and Don Champagne, Managing Partner Forum
"Why spend so much time, effort and energy protecting data when such efforts could ultimately be undermined by document productions? This article explores two specific opportunities providing greater protection in data productions—in terms of adopted standards for production hosting, and a new production format—both of which could thwart some of the greatest ongoing threats."
Resource: Farrah Pepper and Marc Zamsky
"The relationship between lawyers and technology is complicated. Many lawyers—especially those that did not grow up with computers—have a curious ambivalence towards it. They adopt technology for personal use but are reticent to embrace it professionally. They often tout their firm's ‘cutting-edge technology’ but do not provide a powerful voice to professionals within the firm charged with deploying it.
Technology is transforming every segment of the legal ecosystem including its: (1) workforce; (2) division of labor; (3) economics (4) structure; (5) providers; (6); skillsets; (7) career trajectories; (8) education and training; (9) customer expectations; and (10) culture. And while consumers and tens of millions presently denied access to legal services welcome the change, most lawyers don’t. Technology has upended predictable career paths and is recasting how, for whom, with whom, and on what terms many lawyers will work. In short, technology is changing legal culture and what it means to be a lawyer."
Resource: Mark A. Cohen, Forbes
While each of our firms are looking to ensure diversity in our firms, diversity means more than culture or religion. This article outlines a case study in which a professional service firm works with the autism community to develop a program to hire employees with autism. After one year of their pilot program, EY has successfully integrated four individuals with autism into one location and are looking to expand the program in other locations.
Resource: Sarah Ovaska-Few, Journal of Accountancy
This article is a great reminder for all managers. "Prior to taking a management role, you can measure your contribution to the organization by counting the number of important problems you solve. But the day you become a manager, the arithmetic changes. Your success is no longer measured by how many problems you solve. Instead, your role is to build a team that solves problems.
"Anytime you become the hero by solving the problem, you risk teaching your team that without you, the situation is helpless. Over time, and with repetition, you collude with your team in creating a situation that isn’t good for any of you. You surrender your bandwidth to low priority tasks and you reinforce weakness in your team."
Resource: Joseph Grenny, Harvard Business Review
"Artificial intelligence allows for the legal industry to adapt to an increasingly competitive marketplace in ways that benefit both law firms and corporate legal departments"
Resource: Raj Goyle, Bodhala, LegalTech News
"Like most businesses, the talent and potential of a law firm’s workforce can be a significant determinant factor in its success and growth, which is a concept that certainly extends to a law firm’s ability to keep pace with the evolution occurring in our industry."
Resource: Rob MacAdam, Law 360
2018 started in the grip of record cold and blizzard conditions, employers and LAW FIRMS should be taking care to avoid missteps that can cause legal trouble, like not properly paying workers on snow days or failing to maintain safe environments.
Resource: Vin Gurrieri, Law 360
“To succeed, large firms must battle for market share while taking steps to protect profits. The best way to do both is by improving value and service. More value and better service means lawyers and firms must change how they work. Anything else is just window dressing.”
Resource: Ron Friedmann, Prism Legal
"The legal industry is transitioning from guild to marketplace. Differentiation is becoming critically important in a field long known for the homogeneity of its providers and the acquiescence of its buyers."
Resource: Mark A. Cohen, Forbes
"The federal government’s focus on deregulation combined with active state legislatures and municipalities means a cookie-cutter employee handbook isn’t a realistic option for employers. Here are some of the key issues employers should monitor in 2018 that may trigger a handbook update."
Employee handbooks are never finished. Every year brings new changes that require updates to employee handbooks. With sexual harassment and the federal government's focus on deregulation being prevalent in 2017's news headlines, 2018 is sure to have critical updates that need to be made to employee handbooks.
Resource: Lisa Nagele-Piazza, SHRM-SCP, JD, and Beth Zoller, JD
"Nowadays, recruiting systems don't just collect and track applicants, CVs and interview summaries. They also keep mounds of data about the individual applicants and recruiting processes. Yet while these solutions have long provided information about metrics such time to fill, cost per hire and the number of candidates from a given recruitment source, they are only now beginning to address, in a meaningful way, the best sources of top talent."
This article outlines further the data that can be analyzed and how you can leverage your knowledge about current successful employees as it relates to your hiring process.
Resource: Larry Stevens, Human Resources Executive Online
"Indeed, the appeal of telework has diminished at a small but growing number of employers over the past couple of years, with some companies concluding that such workers are not as productive, engaged, creative, responsive or flexible when adapting to changing market demands."
This article shows both sides of where companies are on working from home. There is a shift back to thinking that workers are more productive and innovative while at the office.
Resource: Carol Patton, Human Resources Executive Online
"THE NEW CEO ACTIVISTS"
"CEOs used to avoid wading into controversy, and for good reason: Speaking out on a hot-button issue would surely alienate at least some customers. But the rules have changed. Social upheaval and government paralysis have prompted many corporate leaders to join the debates on LGBT rights, immigration, race and other contentious topics. In fact, in the age of Twitter, their customers and employees often expect this of them. So how can CEOs determine whether to add their voices to an issue of political (if not necessarily strategic) urgency? And how can they do so effectively?"
Sharon Meit Abrahams, EdD — Foley & Lardner LLP
Jennifer Colwell, CLM, MBA — McGill, Gotsdinger, Workman, & Lepp
Kevin Costello — Holland & Knight LLP
Tammy Cowser, PHR, CP — Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP
Lisa Dasher, CLM, CPA, CGMA — Wicker Smith O'Hara McCoy & Ford P.A.
Rick Hellers — nQueue Billback LLC
Lana McGinnis, CLM, SPHR, SHRM-SCP — Sturgill Turner Barker& Moloney, PLLC
Paul Morton — Burns & Levinson LLP
Stephen Wolf, CLM — Deutsch Kerrigan & Stiles, LLP
ALA Board of Directors Liaison to Committee
James Cornell III — Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody, PC
ALA Liaison to Committee
Patricia S. Carrera, JD, CKM, CPLP — ALA's Sr. Director, Member Experience